Nature Nurture Sussex has been offering Forest School sessions to families of children with special educational needs and disabilities for the last two years. Over this time we have witnessed the huge benefits Forest School can have for these families.
The Forest School ethos particularly suits these children because it suggests sessions are child led, build over time and take place in a natural environment rich in sensory opportunities yet free of harsh stimuli. Siblings are welcome and the nature of activities mean they can get a lot from the session too. Parents (and often grandparents) value time spent outside in the soothing environment of the woods and the opportunity to meet other parents around the campfire.
Our leaders are continually gaining experience and have learned ways to modify sessions to suit participating families. Group numbers are kept low and any pressure is removed. Of course all families are different and the leaders will take time to get to know them and their needs.
Sessions take place at our site in Turners Hill. We chose this site as it has lots of parking close to our ‘camp’ and an opportunity to walk through the forest on a wide, flat track. The site has (basic) toilets including a disabled toilet and running water. You can find more information and pictures of the site here.
These sessions are costly to run so in order to make the sessions as accessible as possible we work hard to raise funds including applying for grants.
We are currently running our ‘Dragonflies’ group, aimed at families with children with SEND up to around 11 years old. These have been funded by The Dark Star Foundation. You can book a place using the ‘Book Now’ button below. Alternatively you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We are more than willing to offer familiarisation visits to the site, social stories or anything else you feel would ease your child’s transition into the group.
We also work with charities and groups that support families with children with SEND. We have been working closely with Special Families East Grinstead and will be offering sessions to their members throughout the summer holidays. We are keen to develop our work in this area and welcome other groups to get in touch and discuss how we could work together.